Belching with a bad smell, watering of the mouth, distension of the stomach, loss of appetite, aversion to food, offensive internal gas, physical weakness, fretful temper, constipation or loose stool containing food particles.
Causes: When we take food it is converted into a juicy mass with the help of digestive fluids, then it is transformed into blood. Blood is the most important substance in the body. Fruits, roots, leafy green vegetables and other alkaline-type foods, after being digested, preserve the vitality of the blood by increasing its alkaline portion, whereas fatty and carbohydrate-type foods increase the acidity of the blood. If there occurs a disproportionate increase in the acidity of the blood, then the spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, etc., which are our blood-purifying organs, come under too much pressure. As a result, these organs, being over-worked in purifying the blood, become gradually so weak that they ultimately fail to do their task properly.
Since the different kinds of juicy fruits can be sufficiently digested in their own fluids, the liver bile does not have to make much effort to digest them. But in order to digest starches and carbohydrates, the saliva of the mouth must help at the preliminary stage. Chewing food brings an adequate quantity of saliva into the mouth. No sooner does the food mixed with saliva enter the stomach than the liver and the pancreas are enabled to start secreting their bile and digestive fluids. So unless food is chewed well, the liver can never function properly.
If the quantity of non-vegetarian food is large, then the internal organs will ultimately become weak due to the increasing acidity of the blood. Then when the food from the stomach, having already been partially digested by fluid from the liver, enters the duodenal canal, the weak pancreas will be incapable of secreting enough of its digestive fluid. As a result, the partially digested food does not become completely converted into rasa (chyle). In consequence, the partially digested food gradually decomposes inside the duodenum and thereby partially blocks the intestine. This spoiled food creates a poisonous gas in the body which the respiratory system fails to purify. It also increases the acidic contents of the blood to an excessive degree. This state of health is called “indigestion” or “dyspepsia.”
Although dyspepsia is not itself fatal, it can be the cause of several fatal diseases. And in social life, dyspepsia aggravates peoples’ acrimonious tendencies and makes them extremely irritable. Stomach, intestinal and rectal ulcers, constipation and serious dysentery may arise from dyspepsia.
Treatment: Morning – Utkśepa Mudra, Mayúrásana, Padahastásana, Utkat́a Vajrásana, Ágneyii Mudrá and Ágneyii Práńáyáma. Evening – (With constipation) Agnisára Mudrá, Diirgha Prańáma, Yogásana or Yogamudrá, and Bhújauṋgásana. (With loose movement) Agnisára Mudrá, Sarváuṋgásana, Ágneyii Mudrá and Ágneyii Práńáyáma.
Diet: Boiled old rice (grains a few years old), soup of green vegetables; in case of loose motion, curd (yogurt); in case of constipation, curd made from buffalo’s milk, mixed in water and taken with a little sugar. Remember that curd water is particularly beneficial for dyspepsia patients.
Dinánte ca pivet dugdham
Nishánte ca pivet payah
Bhojonánte pivet takraḿ
Kiḿ vaedyasya prayojanam?
[Drink milk at the end of the day,
Drink water at dawn,
Drink curd-water after the noon meal,
Then what need for a doctor?]
Dos and don’ts: Dyspepsia originates from unbalanced food habits. Eating when one is not hungry or only half hungry is harmful in this disease. So is eating rich food for days together, using intoxicants, eating tasty food out of greed alone, not taking rest after the meal before running off to the office, or taking a bellyful of food (according to the scriptures, it is desirable to fill the stomach halfway with food, one quarter with water, and to keep one quarter empty for free movement of air); refraining from doing physical labour and, over and above this, doing strenuous mental work or indulging in sex, is also harmful in this disease.
It is better not to eat breakfast or any afternoon snack till the disease is fully cured. However, if one feels hungry, one can have some sweet or sour juicy fruit, particularly of sub-acid type, such as mango, pineapple, jám, any kind of citrus fruit (though citrus fruits belong to the acidic group, their action on the body is alkaline), or, in case of constipation, papaya. It is important to remember that acidic foods such as lemon and curd (yogurt) should be taken with a little water and salt.
All non-vegetarian types of food except for small fish, are harmful for dyspepsia patients. Meat and eggs are poison. All intoxicants aggravate constipation, hence they are not to be taken either.
With dyspepsia it is very essential to take a walk in the fresh air and to do a little physical labour every day. Sleeping in the daytime and staying awake at night are forbidden. It is better to take the evening meal before 8 PM, and a short walk thereafter is very helpful.
Pulses are alkaline food but rich, so they are not to be eaten in cases of dyspepsia.
It is desirable to take food or to defecate when the main flow of breath is through the right nostril. Even after food, it is desirable if the flow of breath mainly through the right nostril continues for some time. Because that is the time when the digestive glands start secreting a sufficient quantity of fluids to help digestion.
Observing fast on Ekádashii and regulation of the diet at night on Púrńimá and Amávasyá (i.e. taking just a little milk, fruit and dry things on those two nights) is desirable.
Some remedies: 1. Take 1/16 tola asafoetida (Ferula foetida Regel), fried in ghee and mixed with an equal quantity of rock-salt, before meals.
2. Take shredded dry coconut or the flesh of mature coconut along with a prepared betel (Piper betle Linn.) leaf or with aniseed.
3. Take jámir lime sprinkled with salt.
4. Take 1/16 tola (nor more than that) of ash of a cowrie, wrapped in a betel leaf, after the evening meal every day.
5. For a few days take some myrobalan powder, mixed and ground with an equal quantity of aniseed powder and double the quantity of Kashii sugar (sugar refined by hand equipment and hence a reddish colour). Do not used myrobalan seeds which, if dropped in water, float rather than sink.